Western has been collecting recyclable material in our community for decades and we work hard to keep customers current on the “do’s and don’ts” of recycling. Recycling processing, however, takes place at the Boulder County Recycling Center (BCRC) at 1901 63rd St. and what is acceptable in the recycling bin is determined by the BCRC, based upon the capabilities of the sorting equipment used in the facility.
In addition to the material, the size and shape of an item when it arrives at the facility determines whether or not it can be recycled. The nuances can be perplexing; here are a few items we’re asked about frequently:
Plastic lids can be recycled if they can securely affix to the container. Which means a cap from a water or pop bottle can be screwed back on and recycled but a loose one cannot (because of its size and shape, it will be sorted with glass). A lid from a cottage cheese or margarine tub cannot be recycled; it won’t stay affixed to the container, and because it’s flat, will wind up sorted with paper.
Metal Lids on Glass:
A no-no. Glass breaks in the transportation and sorting process so if metal and glass are attached it’s a mixed material which will be sent off to the landfill. Keep metal lids separate from glass and they both can be recycled.
Small Plastic Containers:
Think trial size toiletries and other “minis”. Even if there’s a recycling symbol on the object, plastics need to be at least 2” x 2” to be sorted properly. Dimensional items smaller than 2” x 2” get sorted with, and contaminate, glass.
Shredded paper is compostable and you can put modest amounts of it in your compost cart, especially if you moisten and mix it up. But when the wind kicks up, garbage-bag volumes of shredded paper can blow around our compost yard and it then becomes litter rather than compost. Shredded paper should not be put in your recycling bin either; the BCRC doesn’t have an effective way to capture it, and it gets mixed in with other material causing contamination. Solution? There is a container at the Recycling Center exclusively for paper and shredded paper. Drop it there for proper processing.
Red “Solo” Cups:
Yes, there’s a recycling symbol on the bottom but no; they can’t be recycled. These flimsy plastics get crushed in truck hopper, are flattened, and wind up sorted with the paper. Wash and reuse instead.